I’m Amanda Bongers, a chemist and researcher studying how people learn.

I am an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University, where I lead a research laboratory. Before this, I did educational and neuroscience research as a post-doc at uOttawa & the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Institute. I have a PhD in organic chemistry and a BSc in biochemistry.

Latest Posts

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  • A send-off to our graduating 4th-year students

    Congrats to Manisha, James, Evan, and Sarah who all successfully wrapped up their research projects and finished their undergraduate programs! Manisha is going on to pursue a master’s in Epidemiology at McGill James and Evan are both pursuing further degrees in education at Queen’s And Sarah is now a Brand Ambassador for Beiersdorf!

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  • 2020 Wrap-up

    2020 Wrap-up

    Clockwise from the top left: Santosh, Evan, James, Phung, Joey, Manisha (Prof. Bongers in the inset) I am so proud of the research group this year, thank you for a job well done!! Welcome Sarah! Part way through the term, Sarah Gulycz joined the group as our first jointly-supervised 4th year thesis student. She is…

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  • Amanda wins a prize at Commonwealth Chemistry – Partnership for the Goals

    Amanda wins a prize at Commonwealth Chemistry – Partnership for the Goals

    The inaugural Commonwealth Chemistry Congress in Trinidad and Tobago was postponed until sometime next year, but this summer the Royal Society of Chemistry hosted a virtual poster session: Commonwealth Chemistry – Partnership for the Goals Great news – Prof. Bongers’ poster was selected for a prize in the Green Chemistry & Catalysis theme! This was…

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Chemistry, Cognition, and Learning

Amanda’s research group studies how chemistry is taught and how people learn. Our lab is interdisciplinary and bridges the social sciences with cognitive science and neuroscience.


When people learn, they are processing information: encoding, retrieving, and using information to make decisions. Research in our lab explores how people learn in chemistry, where we rely on models and diagrams since molecules are invisible to the eye. We ask questions like:

  • How do novices encode diagrams, and what does this reveal about learning?
  • What neural processes are involved?
  • What skills are needed to learn in chemistry, and do they overlap with other sciences or the arts?
  • How can educators design materials or activities to help students learn?

Learn more about our team

A woman points to a computer screen showing eye-tracking fixations overlayed on a chemical structure.

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